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[thawrn-bak] /ˈθɔrnˌbæk/
a skate, Raja clavata, of European waters, having short spines on the back and tail.
a California ray, Platyrhinoidis triseriatus, belonging to the guitarfish group.
Origin of thornback
1250-1300; Middle English; see thorn, back1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for thornback
Historical Examples
  • It is these purses, and those of the thornback and the edible skate, that we oftenest pick up on the English coast.

    Science in Arcady Grant Allen
  • It is quite easy to understand why the name of thornback was given to him.

  • The thornback is another ugly fellow of this family, having spines on his back and a double row of them down his tail.

    Within the Deep R. Cadwallader Smith
  • The thornback has two immense fins, two great wings to cleave the waves.

    The Sea Jules Michelet
  • Many families of fish include both sea fish and fresh water fish, as for instance, the thornback.

    The Sea Jules Michelet
  • The thornback Skate is covered with prickles (placoid scales).

  • The boy gave a curious half-sad smile, without turning his eyes from the thornback, and said nothing.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • "Antient maides" were held in little esteem by him; not one thornback is on his list.

British Dictionary definitions for thornback


a European ray, Raja clavata, having a row of spines along the back and tail
a similar fish, Platyrhinoidis triseriata, of the Pacific Ocean
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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